In January, a public notice written in the Hindi language appeared in Chhattisgarh’s south-western Bijapur District. Posted on the main road of Angampalli village, the notice directed locals to ‘Worship the tribal gods and goddesses; Oppose Christian Religion’.
It was signed by the ‘National Park Area Committee, CPI (Maoist),’ [CPI: Communist Party of India]. The notice listed 22 local Christian’ pastors’ whom the CPI (Maoists) demanded should ‘leave pastorship of the Christian faith propagating enemy culture’, warning that failure to comply would result in action being taken against them.
On the evening of 17 March, six masked men entered Angampalli village and descended on the home of Pastor Yalam Shankar (58; also known as Pastor Timothy). Pastor Shankar went outside to see what they wanted, followed by his daughter-in-law, who witnessed everything that followed.
She told Morning Star News (MSN): ‘As soon as my father-in-law stepped out of the house, they tied his hands at the back. Then they hit his face and forced him to kneel. After he did, they slit the back of his neck with a knife. They shot two bullets into his chest and stabbed him in his chest with a knife.’ She added that when one of the masked men then pointed his gun at her head, ‘My heartbeat suddenly increased, and my head began to spin, and I fainted out of fear.’